Fussy post – Gabby Dress in progress

I’m not a whinger at heart. And I don’t like to be negative in my blog posts – sewing is a happy pastime for me. But the Gabby Dress pattern from Tessuti is making me grind my teeth! So I’m doing an interim moan post. That way my final post will be littered with my usual rose petals.

The mystery tour really begins with the decision to buy the pattern. I’ve been thinking about tent dresses lately, and the Gabby dress sorta, kinda looks like a tent dress. I’ve looked at lots of vintage ’70s patterns, but I kept coming back to this one.

I like to support indie designers in general, but there’s always a compromise.

  • For instance – Is it really a tent dress? Tessuti doesn’t provide any line art for the Gabby. Not anywhere. And all their pics of it are in dark fabrics on models in poses that just don’t show the dress lines. aarrggh.Β 
  • It’s a PDF – Tessuti says to use an A4 printer (that’s not really a printer type, it’s a paper type, but I’m being picky). Most PDF patterns have enough margin to print on both A4 and letter size paper. But Tessuti’s requirement made me wonder if their pattern printed all the way to the edge of the paper!

OK, I went for it. It’s Halloween month.

Surprise, surprise, surprise – I paid a lot for this thing and got a hand-drawn pattern! Not even well-drawn. Sloppy, wavy lines. I don’t want art, I want a professionally drafted pattern!

What size do I wear? Tessuti doesn’t include any garment measurements, other than the length of the short and long dress. There are no measurement markings on the pattern. I thought I’d get a little bit more with the pattern, since the online info is so sketchy. Ha! Here’s what’s provided:

  • XS, S , M and L equivalent to (AUS) sizing 8,10, 12 and 14

So I went looking for AUS sizing and found OnlineConversion.com. I entered 10 in the Australia box and the U.S. conversion was size 6/Small. Not me! AUS size 12 is much closer to my U.S. RTW size.

Once I got the pattern taped together, I did some measuring. The S and M are actually very close in size, but I drafted the M to get the width and length through the upper bodice, front and back.

The finished Medium bust at my apex Β is 46″, and the low hip is 62″. The latter is expected, as this is a tent dress. I knew I was in for an adjustment at the upper side seam, but that’s OK.

I’ll say something nice here – this is a very forgiving design for lumps and bumps!

To end on an up note, a gift. Here’s a look at the lines of the pattern:

And what I hope is a helpful tip for anyone who finds the sleeves are not comfortable (Saturday 10/4 – Β I just edited this a little bit, after working with the pattern again this morning):

I’m not using the sleeve, which means I am reshaping the armhole a lot. The back armhole is actually quite a bit longer than the front armhole. And both are a little too long for this style sleeve and bodice. I think this may be why the top pulls around the lower arm when it’s worn. Some things to try: I would bring the lower edge of the armhole up about 1/2″ to 3/4″ and narrow the width of the sleeve accordingly. I would also try folding the back of the pattern, midway down the armhole, effectively shortening the back armhole. Looking at a pattern that fits well would be a good starting point for working with the alterations.

I’ve almost finished my muslin in the pic above, it’s really cute. And I’ll the doing the post soon.

Hope everyone enjoys a nice weekend. Bye for now – Coco

24 thoughts on “Fussy post – Gabby Dress in progress

  1. I've made the Tessuti Lily dress 3 times. It is pretty much a tent dress. I had the advantage of living near the shop so I could go in and look at their sample garment to work out what the pattern was really like, because the blurry photos looked stylish but weren't really helpful to a sewer considering buying the pattern.

    I had to make lots of alterations to the shoulders/sleeves get it to fit my body. I'm not tempted to buy more of their patterns after how badly the Lily seemed to be drafted. Or maybe it's just my body that is weird? Either way, their pattern and my body are not a good fit!


  2. Thanks, Theresa. I think, from the comments here, that most people are taking my post well πŸ™‚ I'm wearing my muslin to the grocery this morning, soon as it opens. Meanwhile, I have a first 'real' version on the machine, about 2/3 done. Cut it out this morning while watching CNN. I was up at my usual 4:30. I'm always put out on Saturday late night because there is no news programming on the east coast. Anyway, I've added a couple features to this version that really make it super cute and worth all the bother.


  3. Well, I for one appreciate a truthful post about a pattern. I have yet to get the “great pattern but oh I had to make a bizzilion adjustments ” thing. I looked at a few Tessuti patterns and didn't like the easy access to a line drawing and figured whatever design detail I saw I could duplicate with a TNT pattern. I know you'll get that to work and the muslin print is pretty darn cute. I'm late to the party so, are you wearing it yet? πŸ™‚


  4. Thanks so much. I agree with you, I think folks do try to be nice to indie designers. And for the best of reasons. It has to be a hard way to earn a living, and doubtless they have a creative and risk-taking spirit to do what they do. But on the other hand, we purchase with expectation. The bar is not so high for indie designers that they can't meet it with reasonable effort! Ergo my whinge πŸ™‚


  5. Hi! It's interesting, both the Lily and Eva have so much more info on the Tessuti site. Perhaps the Gabby was a first pattern and just hasn't been improved to the level of latest patterns. I think my work on the muslin will pay off, I really like the dress that's emerging. And since I've transferred all my alterations to my tissue, I now have a good working pattern.


  6. It's good to hear an honest review on patterns from an experienced seamstress you know you can trust. πŸ˜‰ I have a cute tent dress in my stash ~ I think. I made it for a party years ago in a black cotton pique with a beautiful trim at the bottom. At some point along the way, it became a skirt when the dress no longer fit. Hmmm – wonder what happened to that skirt? Looking forward to your finished dress. I'll let you know if I find that pattern!


  7. I'm looking forward to your post on your finished “muslin” Coco. I recently made both the Lily and the Eva dresses. It's a nuisance to print, tape, and trace the patterns, but I am really pleased with my results. I dithered over buying them for a long time, but after reading the reviews on Pattern Review and seeing the photos I decided to go for it. Good luck!


  8. I have wondered about this pattern – like the other Tessuti patterns it just looks like a beginners pattern to me. As you say, not what you want when you pay good money. I have no doubt you will solve this problem and come up with a winning dress.


  9. Thank you, Carole! It's coming along. I've hit one more snag, but think I'll just let it float for this muslin. I'm getting kind of tired of this fabric!


  10. Rory, I'm blushing. What a compliment, thank you so much. I'll try to take some pics in other rooms. I'm so flattered! And I'm so pleased you find my tips and comments helpful. I worry sometimes that beginning sewists will be led in the wrong direction by some of the blogs I read…tutorials by sewists who can hardly sew a straight line, but having done so, write a tutorial on how to sew a Chanel jacket πŸ™‚ Anyway, much appreciated and I'm happy for your company. Coco


  11. Wonderful, thanks so much. The board is the Prym Dritz Superboard. It's heavy cardboard, marked at 72″ x 68″, metric and imperial markings on opposite sides, with angles, scallops, and quarter circles. It has a metric/imperial conversion table as well and folds to only 12″ x 42″. I slip mine under my L.R. sofa! and pull it out to do all my pattern layout and cutting in front of my TV. The floor in my sewing room is not large enough to do this πŸ™‚ This is my second board in almost three years, and I walk over it all the time. I get them at JoAnns, you can also order them online, about $18 – $20. Love, love, love.


  12. It's good to know that Tessuti is not WYSIWYG. When I looked at the pattern on their website, it shows the pattern nicely drawn. But if that's not what you got, how frustrating is that! I have no desire to print out pages and pages and tape them together and then have them badly drawn at that. Such a disappointment. Thanks for your “true story”.
    I'm interested in the gridded “thing” your dress is laid out on. What is that with all the squares, curves and angles? It looks to be really useful. Who makes it?
    The cartoon is funny. Thanks for putting us into the Hallowe'en mood.


  13. I'm always so happy when you're name appears on Bloglovin. Thank you for the insight into this pattern. I'm a beginner and I've seen a number of the Tessuti patterns made up. It's really helpful to know the problems a more advanced sewist has with a pattern. So your “whingeing” is wonderful. Also, I woud love to see a tour of your home sometime on the sight. I love the glimpses I've seen of your artwork, colors and garden. Thanks so much for a lovely post — as usual.


  14. Hey – I appreciate your honesty and detailed report. The indie patterns are generally pretty expensive, but honest reviews are rare. In the long run, it won't help the Indie pattern makers, that people only post “nice” reviews, not wanting to hurt their feelings.

    After buying and being disappointed with patterns that only had the nice reviews, customers might not say anything, but just stop buying them. I know I did, for now. The honest reviews will push the Indie pattern makers to improve and that will help their business in the long run. So, thanks again! πŸ™‚


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